"Middleton-in-Teesdale is an extensive parish, forming the south-western extremity of the county of Durham, and comprises the four townships of Middleton, Eggleston, Newbiggin, and Forest and Frith. It was bounded on the north by Stanhope parish, on the west by and south-west and south by the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, and Yorkshire, on the east by Stanhope parish, and on the north-east by Lynesack chapelry. Forest and Frith was formed into a separate parish in 1875, and comprises the townships of that name. Eggleston was formed in 1859; thus a large portion of this extensive parish has been severed. Middleton Common (now enclosed), Newbiggin Common (partially enclosed, and the remainder stinted), Ettersgill Common, and Langdon Beck Common, extend along the southern boundary; and West and Back Commons are situated in the west and south-west.

"Middleton-in-Teesdale Township contains 10,493 acres, and extends from the river Tees on the south to Bollihope and Westenhope Commons, in the parish of Stanhope, on the north. Its annual value is £7739.

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]



The monumental inscriptions in the churchyards of St. Mary the Virgin, Middleton-in-Teesdale and of St. James the Less, Forest and Frith have been transcribed, indexed and published by the Cleveland Family History Society.



"Middleton-in-Teesdale: The population in 1801 was 796; in 1811, 988; in 1821, 1263; in 1831, 1824; in 1841, 1770; in 1851, 1849; in 1861, 2266; in 1871, 2386; in 1881, 2292; and in 1891, 2008 souls.

"Forest and Frith: The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 460; in 1811, 601; in 1821, 723; in 1831, 760; in 1841, 884; in 1851, 904; in 1861, 862; in 1871, 792; in 1881, 757; and in 1891 was 675.

"Newbiggin Township: The number of inhabitants in 1801 was 281; in 1811, 294; in 1821, 416; in 1831, 507; in 1841, 515; in 1851, 583; in 1861, 641; in 1871, 645; in 1881, 616; and in 1891, 476."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

The 1851 Census Index (booklets 51 (Middleton) and 75 (Egglestone, Newbiggin with Bowlees, Forest & Frith with Harwood)) published by the Cleveland Family History Society may be of value to researchers interested in this parish.


Church History


"The Church, which is dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, occupied a site on the rising ground north of the village. The present church replaces one which, though of ancient date, had evidently taken the place of an even earlier edifice. From the numerous fragments of ancient grave-covers and a small portion of zigzag moulding built into the north aisle, it is evident that there was a church standing here of about the date 1160 or 1180. The later church, which was principally in the Late Decorated style, was pulled down in 1876, and the present one built in the same style."

There is a picture (12 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, Middleton-in-Teesdale; supplied by George Bell.

There is a similar, larger picture (40 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, Middleton-in-Teesdale; supplied by Ike Dawson.

There is a further, larger picture (59 kbytes) of the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, Middleton-in-Teesdale; supplied by Ike Dawson.

Forest & Frith

"The Church of St. James, which was originally erected as a chapel-of-ease in 1849, consists of nave and chancel, with small bell-cot. It will seat 300. There is a chapel-of-ease, dedicated to St. Jude, at Harwood, with sittings for about 80, served by the vicar of Harwood."

There is a picture (12 kbytes) of the parish church of St. James the Less, Forest & Frith; supplied by George Bell.


Church Records

"The parish register commences in 1578." [From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan , London, 1894]

The Parish Registers for:-

  • Middleton-in-Teesdale, St. Mary the Virgin 1578-1952 (EP/MT)
  • Forest and Frith, St. James the Less 1845-1970 (EP/FF)

are deposited at Durham County Record Office, County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL.

Baptism and/or marriage registers for the period 1578-1752 are indexed in the International Genealogical Index, a copy of which is available at the County Record Office.

Marriages for the period 1621-1752 are indexed in Boyd's Marriage Index.

Indexes to the Baptisms 1753-1841:-

Indexes to the Burials 1753-1840:-

Marriage indexes for 1621-1784 and 1785-1837 from the George Bell Collection of Durham and Northumberland Indexes.

The Marriages (1621-1837) are included in the Joiner Marriage Index.

The following records are available for non conformist churches in the parish:-

  • Methodist
    • Methodist Church: marriages 1899-1974
    • Primitive Methodist Circuit Registers: baptisms 1874-1930

Description & Travel

" The town of Middleton. - This old-fashioned little town may be considered the capital of Upper Teesdale, as it is quite a centre for the industries, lead-mining and grass farming, in the district. The east end of the village is almost entirely occupied by the employees of the lead-mines, for whom the houses were specially built, and they have the appearance of being in every way comfortable. With its church, chapels, fine schools, public buildings, and places of business, the religious, educational, and commercial wants of the community are amply provided for. Middleton ranks as one of the principal market-towns of West Durham, when on its many fair days it presents quite an animated spectacle. The scenery includes landscapes of great variety, which are nowhere excelled in the district. The railway station stands on the Yorkshire side of the river, opposite the town. At the west end of the town stands an ancient cross, consisting of a small round pillar, surmounted by a sun-dial, and rising from the centre of a square base, on each side of which there are three or four steps."

"Forest and Frith is an extensive township, commencing about four and a half miles north-west from Middleton, and terminating on the borders of Westmorland, near the source of the Tees. It consists of three parts, known as Ettersgill, Middle Forest, and Harwood Parts, whose united area is 17,260 acres. The property assessed to the County Rate is valued at £3637.

"Harwood is a large district, occupying the western extremity of this township, where there are many lead-mines, in which great numbers of the inhabitants are employed. The population of this parish is chiefly employed on the land, as well as doing a little at the lead-mines. Lead is wrought at two mines, by London and Newcastle companies."

[From History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan, London, 1894]

You can see pictures of Middleton-in-Teesdale which are provided by:




Historical Geography

You can see the administrative areas in which Middleton-in-Teesdale has been placed at times in the past. Select one to see a link to a map of that particular area.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference NY947256 (Lat/Lon: 54.625165, -2.083797), Middleton-in-Teesdale which are provided by: